Funnyman David Feherty is rooting for fellow Ulsterman Rory McIlroy this week. But the former European Tour player turned commentator admits that he really misses Tiger Woods.
The madcap Bangor native wants the fallen idol as a guest on his new Golf Channel show, which premieres next Tuesday with a one-hour special featuring Lee Trevino.
But while he’s been turned down by Woods so far, he’s still hoping he can pull off golf’s most exclusive interview.
Has Tiger ever got mad at you?
No. I’m just trying to think of anyone who has got mad. Well, Colin Montgomerie – he got mad at the fact that I christened him Mrs Doubtfire and he blamed me for him not being able to win. In print twice, he said it was my fault because I called him Mrs Doubtfire and people kept yelling at him, ‘hey Mrs Doubtfire, show us your tits’. I said, hey that’s Boston, try to be Ken Griffey going out to the plate. I wanted him, I’d love to interview him on the show, he and I had been friends, on and off, I’d like him to do a cover for a golf magazine as Mrs Doubtfire because that’s what gets rid of the moniker and people would love him for it. But I can’t seem to get through to him.
When Paul McGinley jumped into the lake at the Belfry that particular Ryder Cup when he was carrying a coin that my wife had given me, he came out drenched and I thought, oh God I hope he has the coin in his pocket, and then it occurred to me afterwards, thank god it was Paul McGinley that holed the final putt, imagine colin montgomerie coming out of that water hazard in a wet t-shirt. Oh dear god, years of therapy. That wouldn’t be good.
Are you surprised that you keep getting invited back to Augusta?
I treat that tournament differently….. you go there and you feel different. Sometimes it is a pain in the ass to go by the strict code. First of all, they’ve always had a foregn drunk in their crew from Henry Longhurst, Ben Wright and then me. I am carrying on a line, although I’ve been sober for five years, I love the fact my golf is part of that broadcast …. I love the fact there is less commentary and I wish it would spread to other sports. When they go to the top of the hill at 15, I say something, from the top of the hill at 15 – Sergio Garcia. And there is 20 seconds of silence before he hits the shot, it allows the tension to build up. Remember doug saunders at the 18th hole in 1970 and Henry Longhurst had the call and when Doug was over the ball like forever and he left his right hand on the putter and he bent down to pick something off, Henry Longhurst just never said a word, 45 seconds of silence, and when he bent down to pick
something up, he said, ‘oh dear!’ and then he had this spasm where it looked like he had been tazered by Oklahoma state trooper and the ball wanders past the hole, and Henry says, ‘what a pity’. That’s commentary. We are able to watch it. We can see it with our own eyes. We can feel the agony. We don’t need anyobdoy to describe it and I love that about the Masters, we get more punctuation in commentary.
Is the modern game lacking in characters or is that just a cliche?
I think we have great characters. I think we have sanitised them to an extent. We have so many microphones out there that they are very wary – what I don’t like is how many people are allowed on the range, these entourages of coaches and dieticnas and agents and psychologists. We used to help each other out, we’d stand and watch in the same group in the final round and where am I aiming this and you get lined up by your opponent. That’s the nature of the game, people call penalties on themselves … . only sport where it does happen a lot, see it time and time again. Great sport, great characters and hopefully with the next TV deal I hope we can bring a different perspective —- love to have an umbrella mike and snatch comments from players. Wouldn’t burn a player by putting something stupid on air to get him into trouble…. Anyone who plays golf and doesn’t drop the f-bomb, fuck them.
Who would be the best winner of the US Open this week? The best story?
Steve Stricker – I’d love to see him win a major. I didn’t think I would see two Nick Prices in my lifetime but that’s who we are talking about, he is that character – just the nicest man you will ever meet and shouldn’t be as good as he is. You have to have some asshole in you – most of the great players are testament to that, you have to be so self-consummed and have such a high opinion of yourself, be as good as you are. Sometimes confused for arrogance. Must have it, actor, business person, whaterever. You have to be in a place where other people don’t want the responsibility and that takes a high opinion.
What about Rory. Will he come back from Augusta?
He will, he will. That might be three Nick Prices. The kid goes to Haiti the week of the US Open? He is either out of his mind or he is a great kid and I think I know which one he is. I was with him that Sunday night at Augusta and he said to me, I said, you doing alright kid? And he said, hey, if that’s the worst day of my life I will be a hell of a lot better off than most people. What a weight ot have on your shoulders for three and a half days and tip it off. One bad swing around that place will expose every raw nerve…..
Who are your influences for doing a show like this?
If anyone influenced me, it would be an Ulster comedian called Frank Carson. He was the king of the one liners - ‘it’s the way I tell ‘em’ (is what he used to say), he was a great friend of my father’s and my father was a great storyteller as well. I h ave a great memory for irrelevant bullshit, things that don’t mean much to anyone else. I remember the most insignificant things, probably why I was hired, see things from a different angle. I remember a story he (Carson) told, he was going into an old folks home The Banks to do a charity concert. There was a little old lady on a zimmerframe coming down the hallway and he comes in, hello dear how are you, I am very well thank you, and he follows her, I am here for the show tonight, do you know who I am? No, but if you ask the nurse at the front desk she will tell you ……
My elderly ladies, really really like me, young people have no idea who I am except for the voice on the Tiger Woods game – your’e the one that tells me I suck.
Did you make an effort to get Tiger on the show, it might be a format he’d be relaxed in?
I have made an effort and so far have not been successful. I would like to interview him in his new place. First of all, he needs some serious PR stroke. It would not be an unintelligent thing to do, to talk to me in this forum.
As great as it would be for me, for my show … you know, I miss him. I think a lot of people miss him. Not just the golfer. This is going to sound ridiculously romantic but I miss watching him smile after hitting a great shot, that sort of mischievous grin which said ‘let’s see if anyone else can do that’.
There’s so many things he brought in the early years. His smile lit up the screen more than Seve’s did. It was amazing. It was his 15th club. I’m sorry that we hammered on him so much, whatever we did to him, we forced him into a hole.
It’s not all our fault, obviously, you’ve got to stand up and deal with these things. The worst thing in the world is not being Tiger Woods. It was okay for a long time and it probably still is okay.
But I think he’d be a lot happier if he just got a bunch of this shit off his chest … if he was asked the right questions and given the right forum in which to answer them.
That’s the hard part for him because he doesn’t trust so many people. You can ask him the same question but frame it two different ways and you’ll get two entirely different answers.
If he shoots 72 and he’s played 16 or 17 holes like an idiot but made a birdie on 15, somebody might say ‘You shot 72, you’re nine shots behind, are you going to go to the range and try and find something’.
I’d never ask him a question like that because it just puts him on the defensive and it’s not the way that he thinks. Of those 72 shots that he’s just hit, he’ll remember the two good ones, that’s the way his mind works.
I’d say, hey, you played like a 15 handicap out there’ and that gives him a chance to be self-deprecatory, which he likes. He’ll say, no, more like an 18’. Then I’ll go, until 16 when you made a good swing, holed a good putt, and gave yourself something to go to the range with and work on for tomorrow… it’s the same thing but it evokes a different response.
We expect so much from him. I don’t think anybody possibly could understand how he feels at the minute because nobody has every been where he’s been and then has come down to where he is now. The level of frustration, the level of disappointment he must feel. I can’t think of another athlete who has gone through such a thing.
It doesn’t matter whose fault it is at the end of the day. That’s irrelevant. You were up here and now you’re down there. It would be very, very easy to feel hard done-by and the world is against you. I suspect he doesn’t feel like that but I know he’s like a badger in a set right now and he’s not coming out for anybody. Not for me anyway.
What would I ask him? I’d ask him if he could change one things in his life what would it be. I’d ask him if he confused fun with happiness and thought they were the same thing. I’m an addict and that’s what I did.
I thought fun and happiness were the same thing but they’re not. They’re entirely different. That’s a common thing among all addicts. They are always getting those two things mixed up. What happens when you confuse fun and happiness, you get unhappiness. I think those are the two questions I’d ask him.